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Number 3, Royal Terrace

Number 3 Royal Terrace

Number 3 Royal Terrace was the fourth house in the terrace, located to the east of the centre of the block, overlooking the River Thames.

The first resident of this house in 1772-76 was Topham Beauclerk (1739-80), who paid an annual rent of £264.12s. with an additional fee of £35.10s per annum for one of the stables and coach houses in the arches below.

The Hon. Topham Beauclerk (1739-80) was the only son of the great fortune hunter Lord Sydney Beauclerk MP (1703-44), and grandson of the 1st Duke of St Albans. He is best known as the great-grandson of Charles II and Nell Gwynn, and the friend of Dr Samuel Johnson, whom he met at Trinity College, Oxford, and of James Boswell. He was an amateur chemist, and a bibliophile, with a collection of over 30,000 books. The books were mortgaged to the Duke of Marlborough, and were sold in 1781, following Beauclerk’s death, for £5,011. In 1768 Beauclerk married Lady Diana Spencer (1734-1808), an artist, and the eldest daughter of the 4th Duke of Marlborough. The marriage took place two days after her divorce was finalised from Frederick St John, 2nd Viscount Bolingbroke. Her first marriage had been unhappy on account of the Viscount’s infidelity, but the divorce was prompted by her affair with Beauclerk.

At his country home, The Grove in Muswell Hill, Beauclerk had commissioned Adam in 1770 to make designs for a curtain wall around his observatory there, and for the interior decoration of his wife’s dressing room. None of this was executed, but he must have developed a interest in Adam’s style, as evidenced by his tenancy of this house.

Later, in 1919-36, the resident of the house was William, 1st Baron Weir.
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